For one interested in Romania’s betting scene, gambling options are plentiful. From traditional casino table games to slots, Romania’s gambling landscape leverages the power of the internet to expand its reach. Gamblers throughout the country oblige, supporting a vast number of establishments, which continue to pop up across the country.
Digital, online options offer convenient access via computers and mobile phones. In fact, the country’s gambling industry generates more than $2 billion in revenue every year. Even though the house wins a lot, gambling operators continue to attract consumers who enjoy the thrill of gambling online and at traditional establishments. Let’s look at the evolving gambling landscape in Romania, including past, present, and the future of the industry.
Since the Roman soldiers played, dice games have been popular in Romania. The area’s Balkan region is steeped in gambling traditions from Ottoman and European areas. Romanian regions came under Ottoman rule in the 15th century. For four hundred years, Ottomans influenced the regions culture, introducing coffee houses, saloons, and other customs, such as card games.
In 1859, Romania gained independence. At the time, no gambling regulations existed, and citizens freely played cards and bet on sports. By 1906, Romania developed the nation’s lottery, which is the first licensed and regulated gambling in the country. Like other countries, Romania earmarked lottery proceeds to fund important public programs, such as healthcare and education.
When the Communist Party ruled Romania between 1947 and 1989, it banned gambling in all forms. However, interest in gambling remained and the prohibition only fueled illegal, underground gambling. Gambling operators escaped detection by maintaining small operations and bribing officials to look the other way.
In 1989, a new state replaced the Communist Party. By 1990, Romania licensed its first casino, but the government still lacked laws and regulations to govern the industry. A wide variety of betting establishments popped up across the country. Most operated unlicensed. Operators of card rooms, slot parlors, and betting establishments turned Romania into a gambling haven, which many called the “Wild East.” The country reinstated the state lottery by 1999. New laws set aside 60 percent of the net profit for housing, arts, sports, and other projects. In 2009, the revenue for public projects was more than $170 million.
By 2012, the government passed and enforced numerous laws to regulate the industry and collect taxes. Still, that same year industry leaders estimated that the finance ministry only collected 2 percent of the total tax bill due from gambling establishments.
With no framework to ensure gambling operations reported tax winnings, the system lacked the ability to properly manage tax enforcement. By 2013, Romania’s government implemented a higher charge for the fee to enter a gambling establishment. Further, a casino paid nearly $200 for each slot machine it operated. These new fees helped to offset tax money the government missed out on from unscrupulous operators who failed to report all gambling revenue.